“What do you know of prayers?” she asked, as she held my hands together within her own. I asked her “Don’t you know anything about me?” and there appeared another crack on her hands, there bloomed another rose in her hair there was another smile – the “looking down” smile, “you don’t know any better” smile, “you will soon thank me” smile, “I know you hate my smile” smile. I tried to imitate it, to drape it on my own face. Cause even if it didn’t seem like that, I loved her smile.
I stared at her smile wanting to save it somewhere in me. I stared at her small beautiful parts wanting to un-see the person she is in this moment. I am always trying to forget how suffocated these moments with her are. I am always trying to forget that with her words of love there was always a plea, a suggestion, a manipulation – to make me something like her.
Would it make me seem pathetic, petty, or romantic? if i called her a poison. Though everyone here is a poison, even me, but she is a poison for me, the only poison that works on me. The only one I didn’t want a death from. She tells me about another deity I will never believe in. She tells me a bit more about saving, about faith, about her own self that can never be broken, how even breaking can’t end her now. I wished she was right, I wished there would be never an end to her.
I wished for all kinds of ends for myself, even the ones without her. But in no version did I invent an agreeable version of her that will better for me. She has to be herself. Whatever that might mean for me. I wonder if there would come a day like that, a day when she would love me like that. Do I even want a day like that? Can I even tolerate a change in her? Wouldn’t that break me more than anything?
I get up and say something about “better things to do” and she says something about “the dangers to the faithless” and I can only smile for now at this weird, beautiful, messed up part of our life at our of differences, knowing of love, at our knowing of faith in different things that save us in their own ways.
The howevers have replaced the forevers and it is a beautiful change. Now we can let the dying thing die at peace. The fleeting feelings and their fragile wings could have dropped and turned to dust with time I know, but there is something frustrating about slow, about things that don’t end when they drag their feet to the wrong doors pretending to look for answers, when everyone stares at faces they cannot bear to look at waiting for someone to end things for them. I am also guilty of all this, of thinking that making new promises will give me enough pressure, enough motivation to follow through the life that I don’t really want, of holding on when I have no mind to continue. However isn’t this a good excuse, a god-sent moment to finally separate our stories, to forget this mess that will never fix by itself or even by our half-hearted trying.
The light – yellow, diffused, and scattered – falls here everyday on the cold marble of my home. It is winter already, which means there must be places on earth now where turning on taps is a useless exercise, where a whole street wakes up early to remove the snow piling up in them, around them, snow continues piling far away from their settlements where there is no need to clear them, where the weight of snow doesn’t suffocate anyone. There must be places now where people are forgetting things one by one. Remembering an unreal ocean of fierce light, forgetting ever being there. How many places have I forgotten already? I move two chairs into the circle of warmth and wait for the evening cold to reach my skin, to end this dream. I stare at the empty chair. I draw myself sitting there, staring, as if I cannot live without an empty space beside me. What was that space once? It was something warm with skin and heart and voice. It was light in human form, it was the most beautiful life. But that empty chair in the sun, has been empty for so long it couldn’t possibly have been me who existed when it was something more than that.
Once she had a bite of my fate she became a restless ghost. She looked like all my ugly wishes staring back at me but she had a beautiful smile so it was more bearable to my eyes than to wear my own desperate words on my unsightly lips. She looked out of place, but in a good way as if she was the invitation to some place where my light won’t die. Even in her voice it was my own words that asked me to leave, that told me to love for the last time. As my shrieks danced in the empty corridors she planted a seed of eucalyptus in my palm, she covered my hand with hers, and covered our hands in dirt. She told me how, for years, only the smell of eucalyptus could calm her mind, it made her believe that there was a gentle cure to every disease that hurt her heart. As she spoke such words that were not extraordinarily sad I felt my spine become soft. I dreamt of her leaning against my back relieved of her every pain and maybe it was the only beautiful wish that has ever been born from my heart. Once I touched the shadow of her heart I grew and bloomed and learnt to be the one who waits, heals, loves, and breaks without bounds.
From the lowest branch of the falling tree I looked up and heard someone laugh.
I have been reborn thousand times after that but still as I walk on the charcoal roads lined with white tulips that never light up, as my foot slips I hear that laugh again.
I hear it when I cook food and end up staring a bit too long at the flame, when the smoke that kills, coats everything that fills my stomach.
It is stuck in my heart, the violence of the end. The bluest sky, the sweetest wind, the flying songs, and my muffled cries- crystallized as one. One tiny map, that tells no directions, forever stuck in the corner of my eye.
It plays like a record, plays hide and seek. It is a play that ends with the stories breaking into me.
He stepped down from his ‘cloud nine of the day’ as I stepped out from my house made of last drops of rain and at the intersection of fleeting memories we fell in love. That is what I tell my friends when they ask me about the moment I was tempted to end the sadness of my life.
I tell them about the words I borrowed from his lips, his borrowed tongue that helped me eat a bit more. How I taped his adjectives on my mirror so that I wouldn’t have to look at myself.
They sit with me on the table I can’t bear to share with my love. They stare at me, as I ask them what to wear, how to hide my poison, how to hide the crack at the elbow, the bruised collarbone, the split lip, the ache in my heels, my frayed wings, my broken voice and all other reminders of what love has done to me, and what more love can do, if i just let it in again.
They tell me it is all healed. They tell me it is all past. They hold their skin against mine to make me see that the cracks are all in my mind, how everyone looks just like me, how everything wrong with me is now the norm. And they laughed when I looked at them with concern.
They dropped me at the restaurant and vanished at the farthest bend of the road. As I dragged my feet towards another story that I will never get to complete, another tragedy that suited only me, I looked back and tried to think of all the things that these kind friends of mine suffered as they hoped and wished and lied to themselves. The exceptions they now considered normal, the wounds they cannot even see, the pain they cannot call pain, the love they cannot bear to leave- I tasted these facts in every spoon of artificial sweetness I fed to my mouth that evening.
On my closed hopeless eyes you placed your lips and something in me broke open. And I burst from within, from all my prisons. From all my pseudo homes I heard myself crying.
I heard the the noises of television in the heavy air of my living room die out, I heard myself breathe. I heard the knocks on my door and found all my lost selves staring at me one second, embracing me the next.
They told me it could be the blue moon, it could be the cyclone that is running wild, it could be the end of earth predicted too many times, it could be flowers-that-no-one-loves blooming in our land, it could my restlessness and fear of being left behind, it could be you.
As you sink into the couch, forgetting the nail you painted seconds before, as you look around frantically for remote, as you leave the evidence of beautiful color on my skin, I realized, that I found in myself the honesty to say out aloud, to tell you, to accept that it is probably you.
At a bus stand in front of mall (that I have never been to) I learnt how to wait and how to live with disappointments without making a big deal of it.
In the bracket of an hour, I grew smaller than I ever thought I could be. “this is what love does to you, this is what love does to all of us”, all the voices in me lied. I was again weary of the love that I had chosen and the person I had trusted (“again” – the word that showed me the real reason why it would never work out).
I stood beside strangers on the crowded bus stand, awkwardly crying. I counted these not-so-scary strangers who were trying to become one skin. I pretended that I hated to be rained on as much as they did. I pretended that I didn’t mind their warmth, that my suspicious mind was not at work again.
Hours went by, empty roads faithfully stayed empty. I became more aware of the boundaries of my body I became aware of the person who would never come looking for me, who would look at the three hour long rain and still won’t wonder what happened to me.
We all stood there, pretending to be the only human in the group of zombies who had taken over a bus stand out of boredom, who stared at the wide road, the darkness beyond, and the emptiness behind as if their eyes were made to witness only this moment. I closed my eyes and hummed something, anything that could drown the presence of everyone who knew the sound of my breaking heart now.
At a bus stand, that could protect no one, we all dreamt of the worst- of the submerged road, a rain that will never stop, the cold that would take us down for days, children forever waiting, of the lightning we could hear but not see
of a love painlessly ending and a heart that shamelessly survived.
the one thing i can’t be is honest. though there are many other adjectives that stare at me from their balconies at midnight as i walk and crawl through the dirt road, through the pool of lights, crying and shouting and breaking dreams in every home that i pass by. i hear them shaking their heads with disapproval and hopelessness. i look at their hazy shadows and try to hate them in equal measures but i don’t because they are so easy to forget. but this honesty, this honesty that people expect vexes me. this expectation makes me want to hide, run, run over their hearts all because it is so simple. all because the ones who ask me of this through their tears are not mere observers but are the ones struggling to stay close to me fighting the unnecessary sandstorm i create everyday. they are the ones who deserve honesty. they are the ones i don’t deserve. but my dishonesty is not only for this world. it is the only thing i can offer to myself as well. so again, i wake up in their arms with another lie ready on my lips. i hug them with with my true love and my false heart. i don’t try to make it right when they are in shambles again because there is no fancy way to put it, there is no beauty in what i do, there is no promise i would keep. there are only people who i leave. even when i can’t bear to miss one more person again.